Bruins: Tomas Kaberle

B's to let Kaberle, Ryder test free agency

June, 30, 2011
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Bruins General Manager told the media in a conference call Thursday morning that the team will let defenseman Tomas Kaberle and forward Michael Ryder hit the unrestricted free agent market Friday at noon when the 2011 NHL free agency season opens. But he stressed that doesn’t mean that either player’s time with the Bruins is over.

“There is no finality to our relationship,” Chiarelli said of Kaberle when asked if it was decided he wouldn’t return. “What we’ve agreed to with Tomas and his agent (Rick Curran) is that he would look into the market and we’d continue to talk with him. So certainly there’s no finality there.”

According to Chiarelli the same goes for Ryder.

“We certainly haven’t parted ways,” Chiarelli said. “I’m weary of the market as it stands now so I said ‘look guys go out there and see what’s going on and we’ll continue to talk.’ The risk that we run is that they’ll get a deal and they can’t come back to us and I understand that risk. That’s where those two guys stand.”

Kaberle was largely a disappointment after being acquired by the Bruins from the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 18. He had just nine points in 24 regular season games and then added 11 assists in 25 playoff games. He finished the season playing on Boston’s No. 3 defensive pairing. While Ryder had an inconsistent regular season that included being a healthy scratch a handful of times, he played well in the playoffs, scoring eight goals and adding nine assists.

“I don’t know but I have a sense of what segment they’re in within the market but I’m not entirely certain,” Chiarelli said when asked if he thought he may still be able to get Ryder and Kaberle back at the right price for his team. “Those are two guys that gave us good service so for the right number, I’d like to have them back but I can’t tell you. I don’t know what that number is.”

Chiarelli also confirmed that he has made qualifying offers to three restricted free agents: Forwards Brad Marchand and Stefan Chaput as well as defenseman Andrew Bodnarchuk. Chiarelli said that negotiations with all three players have yet to begin.

After a breakout 21-goal regular season to go with 11 goals and 19 points in the playoffs, Marchand will be in for a big pay raise.

Chiarelli said he has informed unrestricted free agent to be defenseman Shane Hnidy that the Bruins will not be bringing him back in the 2011-12 season.

“We’ve told Shane that we aren’t re-signing him,” Chairelli said of the utility defenseman. “I think he will be a good addition somewhere else so I told him that.”

Kaberle hopes to come back

June, 19, 2011
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BOSTON -- Defenseman Tomas Kaberle confirmed to the media Sunday that he would prefer to sign with the Bruins before he becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“Obviously we’re going to talk the next few days," Kaberle said. "Hopefully we can sit down or we can talk to my agent and it will be nice to be back here.”

Kaberle struggled to adapt to coach Claude Julien’s system after being traded to the Bruins on Feb. 18, finishing the season with nine points in 24 games. He continued to struggle to find his game in the playoffs, but came on strong in the finals with three points in seven games and moved the puck better in helping the power play finally generate some offense toward the end of the series.

“The start wasn’t as good as I would have expected,” Kaberle acknowledged of his short time as a Bruin. “I felt better as the playoffs went on and I thought my teammates supported me well. We played really good as a team toward the end. I think I maybe tried to do a little too much at the start and it doesn’t work sometimes when you try to do too much. I just tried to keep it simple, start moving my legs more and just play my game.”

Video: Offseason questions for Bruins

June, 16, 2011
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James Murphy and Joe McDonald took a few minutes after the Bruins’ Game 7 win to look ahead to the offseason. After playing into the middle of June, the Bruins won’t have a lot of time before they have to get to work on offseason planning. They will need to make decisions on some UFAs, including Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle. Another situation to watch is Brad Marchand. He’s a restricted free agent and should be in line for a pretty significant raise.

Julien keeping a positive frame of mind

May, 27, 2011
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BOSTON -- Bruins coach Claude Julien is keeping a positive mindset heading into tonight’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk struggled in Game 6 and was on the ice for all five of the Lightning’s goals, including Tampa’s fifth tally in its 5-4 win at St. Pete Times Forum. To his credit, he was also on the ice for all four of Boston’s goals, too.

When asked Friday morning to discuss Boychuk’s play of late, Julien pointed out that he has confidence in all his players.

“Our team needs to be positive and we believe in everybody in our hockey club,” Julien said.

The follow-up question was in regards to the improved play of defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and this time the coach was quick to answer.

“That’s somebody you can talk about positively, and certainly one of those guys that I think last game played pretty good,” Julien said. “I liked his game. He moved the puck well. He was in there. He created some opportunities for us.

“He made some good decisions in our own end. He did a great job. So I know there's been a tendency to be hard on this guy at times, but I would say three out of the last four games, he's been a real good player for us.”

Video: Kaberle discusses power play

May, 16, 2011
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BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle has been criticized for his lackluster performance, especially on the power play, since arriving in Boston via trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on March 18.

At the time of the deal, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli was confident the organization would be able to sign the veteran blueliner to a long-term deal once this season was over. Both the Bruins and Kaberle have said he should be playing better and the defenseman addressed it again after practice on Monday morning at the TD Garden:


BOSTON -- After a day off, the Boston Bruins were back on the practice ice Monday morning at TD Garden in preparation for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tampa leads the series 1-0.

Bruins coach Claude Julien afterwards discussed the participation of Patrice Bergeron (mild concussion) at practice, and also the importance of getting the most out of defenseman Tomas Kaberle:


BOSTON -- Bruins forward Nathan Horton and defenseman Tomas Kaberle shared a bond heading into the Stanley Cup playoffs: Kaberle hadn’t been to the playoffs since the 2003-04 season and Horton had never been to the playoffs in seven seasons of NHL hockey with the Florida Panthers. Each acknowledged after practice Thursday that there most certainly was an adjustment period in the first few games of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals series against Montreal.

Kaberle, the former Maple Leafs blueliner known for his slick puck-moving and power-play skills, said he actually struggled to adapt when he first came to Boston Feb. 18 in exchange for prospect Joe Colborne, the Bruins’ 2011 first-round pick and a conditional pick, and that the unfamiliarity of the playoffs added more pressure for him to fit in and play his game. But as the playoffs have progressed -- and, more specifically, in this Eastern Conference semifinals series -- Kaberle has found his groove is back to playing his game. His minutes may be down but he said he is happy with his game as of late and ready to help his team wherever they need it.

“I always put a little pressure on myself and maybe I did a little too much at the start against Montreal,” said Kaberle, who has three assists in the playoffs. “I feel more comfortable now against Philadelphia and, like I’ve said before when I got here, I’ll do anything to help this team. It doesn’t matter if I play power or I play five minutes or 25 minutes, I’ll approach it the same and help in any way I can.

“With Montreal, they were a fast team and if you pinch at the wrong time, they’re going to hurt you. But Philly, they’ve got lots of offensive power and we have to be aware of that as well. But, yeah, I am playing my game better against them.”

For Horton, the transition to playoff hockey came quicker as he has become “Mr. Clutch,” with two overtime winners and a goal against the Habs and two more lamplighters against Philadelphia. But even Horton admitted he wasn’t himself early on in the Montreal series and struggled to control his excitement and emotions over being in the playoffs.

“Well, I think you can tell the first two games of the playoffs it’s not that we weren’t working, we just weren’t working smart,” Horton said. “We were trying to finish our checks out of the play and just not playing our style, being a little bit too excited. Obviously there’s a lot of emotions in the playoffs and you just have to play the right way, play smart and don’t turn the puck over or give them too many opportunities. ... It took a little bit the first couple of games there to not be so anxious and just kind of relax and play smart.”

Horton didn’t score in the first two games of the Montreal series, but once he found the twine in Game 3, the tension and nervousness turned into motivation and determination to play his game.

“I think after that [Game 3], whatever happens, just keep playing the way we can play,” Horton said. “Relax and the biggest thing was getting pucks in deep when you can. ... Obviously you’re going to be excited about every game but just try not to let your emotions take over and do what’s made us successful all year.”

Kaberle credited his newfound comfort level to goaltender Tim Thomas, the Vezina Trophy candidate who has been spectacular in the playoffs.

"With Timmy behind us, it’s given me and the guys confidence and that’s helped. So having him there has made me more relaxed and I’ve been able to settle myself defensively -- because that’s playoff hockey, it’s all about defense first,” Kaberle said. “But now that I am comfortable defensively, I can mix in my offense as well. Before I was probably staying back too much and my game is to move the puck up as quick as possible and help the forwards with breakouts and I feel I’ve been doing that a lot more lately so I want to keep it up.”

With a chance to sweep the Flyers in Game 4 Friday, Kaberle said he and his teammates are trying not to get too comfortable.

“It’s not finished and we have to make sure we play the same way, even better,” Kaberle said. “It’s going to be the hardest game [Friday]. We have to make sure we prepare from the first shift like we always do. So it would be nice to finish it at home here, get a few days of rest in between, but like I said, you don’t look at the long run, just tomorrow’s game and that’s how you approach it.”

Video: Block party for the Habs

April, 14, 2011
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BOSTON -- In his first playoff action for the Boston Bruins, defenseman Tomas Kaberle saw firsthand how the Montreal Canadiens can stifle an opponent’s offense.

Montreal blocked a total of 19 shots and goaltender Carey Price made 31 saves en route to a 2-0 victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Thursday night at TD Garden.

Kaberle explains the Bruins’ frustrations:


Video: Kaberle returns to the postseason

April, 13, 2011
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WILMINGTON, Mass. -- For the first time since the 2003-2004 season while with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle is returning to the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Boston acquired the veteran defenseman from Toronto in February, and one of the reasons he waived his no-trade clause was for an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup.

He said he’s looking forward to that chance with the Bruins:





Horton, Kaberle at their best

March, 23, 2011
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BOSTON -- After a sluggish first 15 minutes Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, the Boston Bruins regrouped and finished with a much-needed 4-1 victory on the strength of a total team effort.

While Bruins coach Claude Julien complimented his team for a solid effort, he was especially happy with the play of forward Nathan Horton and defenseman Tomas Kaberle.

While Horton’s name did not show up on the score sheet, he played probably one of his most physical games of the season. He was getting involved and really agitating the opposition to the point where he almost took it too far and nearly dropped the gloves with the Devils’ Henrik Tallinder during a Boston power play in the second period.

“Nathan is good when he’s got a chip on his shoulder, as long as he doesn’t cross the line,” Julien said. “I like the way he plays when he plays like that because he’s a strong individual and he wins battles. He’s certainly one of those guys who brings that presence to the ice, not only physically, but also on the score sheet. He’s a dangerous guy when he’s playing with an edge.”

The Bruins acquired Horton in a trade during the offseason for the purpose of boosting the offense, and he’s done that. He has 20 goals and 26 assists in 70 games, but when he plays with that edge, he becomes a more complete player.

“He played with a lot of emotion and a lot of passion,” Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton said. “It’s good to see. Everyone in here was aware what was going on coming into this game, so he tried to take it upon himself to create some emotion for the team. He’s been a great player for us all year.”

Kaberle, acquired at the trade deadline in February from Toronto, was brought in to be the puck-moving defenseman the Bruins desperately needed. He was supposed to boost the power play too. But Boston entered Tuesday’s game 1 for its last 29 on the man-advantage. Against the Devils, Kaberle notched two assists, including one on the winning goal, which came on the power play.

“We’ve been able to move the puck well, not stationary and stuff,” Kaberle said. “When you move the puck, good things are going to happen. You don’t have to score, just collect chances and be there, and eventually you’re going to get your chances.”

Overall, Kaberle seemed a lot more comfortable on the ice.

“He played with more jump to his game,” Julien said. “He was proactive, and he brought some good offense to our game as well. They weren’t giving us much space out there, so he was taking the space that was given to him, and that really helped our team a lot. To me, it was a really solid game from him. Arguably, probably his best.”

Chiarelli optimistic about signing Kaberle

February, 28, 2011
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KANATA, Ontario -- Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told the media Monday that there was nothing to report on contract talks with newly acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle, who will be an unrestricted free agent July 1. Chiarelli did, however, sound confident he would get a deal done after the season.

“Nothing beyond my brief discussion with his rep after we acquired him,” Chiarelli said of negotiations with Kaberle. “We both agreed to wait until the season was over and it was in a very positive light. I’m very optimistic.”

The Bruins acquired Kaberle on Feb. 18, and following his first game with the team that night -- a 4-2 win at Ottawa -- Kaberle said he was happy to be a Bruin but was focused on the season and the playoffs ahead.

“It all depends,” Kaberle said when asked if he wants to stay with Boston after this season. “I’m just kind of focused on the games right now and not focusing on what’s going to happen in July, when I’m a free agent, or if I am going to get signed. It’s something that’s going to be done whether it’s now or in the summertime, and I’m just going to focus on the hockey games.

“I know Boston has been talking about trying to have me on the team the last few years, and obviously I appreciate that. I’m happy to be here and I’ll do my best. Especially playing against them six times or eight times a season before, you get to see a lot of them, and it’s a hard team to play against and it’s one of the reasons why I chose them, too. I think they have a great chance to win and it’s an Original Six club. [I] can’t ask for more.”

After a long pursuit, Chiarelli got his man

February, 18, 2011
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BOSTON -- It was a long and arduous process, but Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli finally got his man.

The Bruins acquired veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for Boston’s own first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, forward prospect Joe Colborne and a conditional second-round pick in 2012. If the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Finals this season, or they’re able to re-sign Kaberle after this year, then the Maple Leafs will receive the Bruins’ second-round pick in 2012.

Kaberle, 32, has spent his entire 12-year NHL career in Toronto and he will be an unrestricted free agent following this season. Now that the Bruins have him, Chiarelli wants to keep him.

“I would like to try to re-sign him,” said Chiarelli after Friday’s press conference at TD Garden. “I think we would re-sign him, but we wouldn’t do anything until after the season.”

Chiarelli attempted to acquire Kaberle on draft day two years ago, but the deal fell through. Chiarelli has been persistent and has kept in contact with Toronto GM Brian Burke about the possibility of completing the deal.

Discussion this time around began nearly four weeks ago and was finally completed on Friday, Chiarelli said.

Chiarelli doesn’t like to disclose too much of the inner workings of any deal, especially one as complex as this one, but he did admit that Kaberle has been on his radar for quite some time.

“It was publicized well enough that we obviously tried to acquire Tomas at the draft two years ago, and he’s a player we always felt would help us,” Chiarelli said. “We’ve had on-again, off-again discussions with the Leafs over the course of these two years.

“He’s a UFA [unrestricted free agent], so from the Leafs' perspective, I would imagine that they wanted to maximize their return. They weren’t going to re-sign him, and they maximized their return, but we got the player we wanted.”

Even when Chiarelli and Burke weren’t exchanging e-mails or text messages, internally the Bruins were still formulating a plan and discussing what the organization would do if the deal were brought back to life.

“With a deal of this magnitude, and when you put in the prospect [Colborne] that we did, there’s a lot of internal discussion and debate. Sometimes you go in different directions, so it took some time that way.”

Even this time around, there were times when Chiarelli thought this deal would fall through again.

“Sure, there are times when you maybe think it’s off the rails a little bit, but that applies to every deal. There’re ebbs and flows to the deal, but I think when you have two motivated parties you’ll get a deal done.”

The fact it finally got done, and Boston got what it believes to be a much-needed component for a strong push for the Stanley Cup, not even Bruins pugilist Shawn Thornton could have knocked the smile off Chiarelli’s face on Friday.

Update: B's officially land Kaberle

February, 18, 2011
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The Boston Bruins made a flurry of moves on Friday, the biggest acquiring veteran defenseman Tomas Kaberle from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The Bruins will send minor league forward Joe Colborne, a first-round pick in 2011 and another conditional second-round draft pick to Toronto.

The Bruins needed to clear cap space to absorb the remainder of Kaberle's $4.25 million salary this season, so they turned around and traded forward Blake Wheeler and defenseman Mark Stuart to the Atlanta Thrashers for center Rich Peverley and defenseman Boris Valabik.

Kaberle, 32, has spent his entire career in Toronto and has made four All-Star teams. This season Kaberle has three goals and 35 assists and is a minus-2 in 58 games. He will become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

Click HERE for more. We'll have more updates throughout the day.

Burke says he's discussing deal with B's

February, 15, 2011
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BOSTON -- Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke told 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday that he was currently in talks with Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli over a possible trade -- dispelling any rumors that the embattled Leafs general manager wouldn’t deal with Chiarelli after the Phil Kessel trade in September 2009 that netted Boston Tyler Seguin (via Toronto’s first-round pick in 2010), Jared Knight (Toronto’s second-round pick in 2010) and the Leafs’ first-round pick in 2011.

“There is no barrier to that,” Burke said about dealing with the Bruins. “There are no hard feelings, there’s no sense of, ‘Oh, we have to even the score somehow.’ If we can make a deal with the Bruins that makes sense for both teams, we’re going to do it.”

Bruins president Cam Neely went on the station later Tuesday and acknowledged that the Bruins were “close” to completing a trade but he would not give specifics.

Burke wouldn’t get into specifics either or comment on Tomas Kaberle, who has been linked to the Bruins in trade rumors and whom the Bruins almost acquired in a 2009 draft-day trade. According to sportsnet.ca, Kaberle has told the Leafs that he'd waive his no-trade clause only to go to Boston.

Burke did say, however, that the Toronto first-round pick now owned by Boston wasn’t in play on any trade discussions with the Bruins, and earlier in the day Burke stated that he would like roster players in any future deals.

“We put the third-round pick in play last night,” Burke said. “As soon as we had it, we put it in play to try to get a forward back. We’re not throwing in the towel here, and we’re not done yet, either.”

Burke has 10 draft picks stored away for June but he reiterated he’s not looking to add more. Instead, he said he wants roster players that can help his team now and next season.

“We’re not going with 10 if I have my way,” the Leafs GM said. “We’re going to try and do something with some of those picks. Most draft picks, you don’t see the player for three years, and if we can do something shorter term, we’re going to do it.”

So what does that mean for the Bruins, and possibly acquiring Kaberle? It could mean that Chiarelli will have to dangle a young roster player and/or veteran as trade bait. But that isn’t the thing Chiarelli must keep in mind as he proceeds toward the Feb. 28 trade deadline. As pointed out here last night, the time may be now for Chiarelli and other general managers to make a move, because the phone lines are buzzing after what Burke did over the past week -- sending defenseman Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim Feb. 9 for Joffrey Lupul, prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional 2013 pick and then forward Kris Versteeg to the Flyers for 2011 first- and third-round picks.

“I know from talking to a couple of other GMs that our trade set off a big surge of phone activity last night,” Burke said. “There’s only so many quality players available at the deadline, and I know there was a frantic response to this trade, but we’ve been busy on the phones now for a while.”

Kaberle was unavailable to the media following his team’s morning skate at TD Garden on Tuesday, but Leafs defenseman Mike Komisarek said the puck-moving blueliner is taking the trade rumors in stride.

“He’s used to it, that’s for sure,” Komisarek said of his Czech teammate. “It’s hard for sure but it’s part of the game and we’re all dealing with it.”

Komisarek was asked if he thought Kaberle could help a team like the Bruins.

"I’ll put it this way, he is probably one of the best I’ve played with and will help any team if he gets traded away or signs somewhere in the offseason,” Komisarek said of the impending unrestricted free agent. “He’s so smart out there and his skill level is through the roof. It’s a pleasure to play with him and watch him every day on the ice.”

Bruins should act now on trade front

February, 14, 2011
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Following the Feb. 7 announcement that Bruins star center Marc Savard would be done for the season and that the Bruins could use his remaining salary cap space, we looked at what the Bruins might try to do before the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

After watching the Bruins get dominated by the Detroit Red Wings in a weekend home-and-home set, the needs remain the same -- a puck-moving defenseman and scoring depth up front -- but the urgency to get something done is higher.

Some may argue that the tight standings in the Western Conference and uncertainty surrounding injuries make it too difficult to get what you want two weeks away from the deadline. But if a general manager knows what his team needs and has targeted certain players -- which most have by now -- then why wait?

As we pointed out last week, the Bruins have some attractive trade bait in young roster players, prospects and draft picks. And with general manager Peter Chiarelli letting it be known that he is willing to trade Toronto’s 2011 first-round pick (acquired in the Phil Kessel trade), he is basically saying, “Let’s make a deal.”

[+] EnlargeZach Bogosian
Claus Andersen/Getty ImagesCould Atlanta defenseman Zach Bogosian, a potential foundation-type player, be a target for the Bruins?
The thinking here is that with the Eastern Conference wide open right now and with the Penguins possibly major players in the trade market, the race is on for the big fish that are available.

The Bruins’ power play has been better as of late with five goals in their last 10 attempts, but their five-on-five play looked over-matched against Detroit and it is still painfully clear that this team needs a defenseman who can move the puck up ice and create offense (as the Red Wings’ blueliners can). While Boston’s forwards should not be let off the hook for failing to come back to help the defense and for poor forechecking, a puck-moving defenseman must be the top priority for the Bruins.

Maple Leafs defenseman and impending unrestricted free agent Tomas Kaberle seems to make the most sense for Boston. Kaberle, who will turn 33 on March 2, has a clause in his contract that allows him to submit a list of 10 teams to whom he would allow a trade. According to a league source, Kaberle has not submitted such a list, but could be willing to accept a move to an Eastern Conference team. The source also said the Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers have shown interest in Kaberle.

We’ve also suggested that the Bruins look into 20-year-old Thrashers defenseman Zach Bogosian, and still think it’s worthwhile despite talk that Atlanta won’t deal the young blueliner. But Kaberle may make more sense because of his experience and the fact that he’d likely come a good deal cheaper than Bogosian.

Bogosian, who will be a restricted free agent, likely would cost the Toronto pick, a prospect, a young roster player like Blake Wheeler and possibly defenseman Mark Stuart, who was a healthy scratch for eight straight games before Sunday and is available, according to multiple league sources. That price tag is based on talks with numerous NHL scouts and executives, and makes sense because Bogosian has the potential to be a foundation-type player.

There is strong sentiment that Bogosian isn’t available, but Bob McKenzie of TSN said last week that the defenseman’s fractured relationship with assistant coach John Torchetti and the Thrashers’ depth on the blue line have fueled talk that he could be had for the right price. That being said, such a deal seems more likely to happen at the NHL draft.

If the Bruins can’t land Bogosian or Kaberle, what other defensemen may be available? The pickings appear to be slim, but if this scribe were running the show (and there’s good reason he's not!) he’d inquire about Brent Burns (Minnesota), Joni Pitkanen (Carolina), Bryan McCabe (Florida), Kurtis Foster (Edmonton) and possibly John-Michael Liles of the Avalanche. All have been mentioned by numerous scouts as being available.

For those who have inquired about the Bruins and Blackhawks talking about a deal that would send Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook to Boston, consider this from ESPNChicago.com colleague Jesse Rodgers. “After a spate of silly Internet rumors about an impending trade,” Rodgers wrote, “general manager Stan Bowman put that all to rest on Thursday and Friday in various interviews, declaring Seabrook a Hawk through the 2011 playoff chase.” Not going to happen, folks.

As far as scoring depth up front, a league source said the Bruins kicked tires on Kris Versteeg but decided the price was too high. Toronto dealt Versteeg to the Flyers on Monday for a first-round and third-round pick in the 2011 draft.

While Kaberle still seems to make the most sense, there’s no guarantee he will be available. Either way, the Bruins would be wise to get a trade done for a puck-moving defenseman as soon as possible. The demands will only go up, and since the Bruins are in a solid position to make some noise in the Eastern Conference, they shouldn’t wait and take a chance of letting the big fish get away.

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